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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Big & Tall: 1900

Big & Tall: 1900

September 11, 1900. "Masonic Temple, State Street, Chicago -- Temple Theatre and Central Music Hall." Completed 1892; demolished 1939. Shortly after this photo was taken, Central Music Hall met the wrecking ball to make way for the Marshall Field department store. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

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One of the Best Photos...

I've ever seen of Chicago's Masonic Temple. I have stereocards that show the Temple, but they don't have the detail of this image. Just north of the Masonic Temple (on the other side of the alley) is where the Chicago Theater will be built.

Cable cars and trolley poles?

Chicago adamantly prohibited overhead wires over their downtown streets until after the turn of the century. Unlike New York and Washington which installed underground power conduits to power their downtown streetcars, the Chicago system retained their cable cars which towed the unpowered streetcars through downtown, as seen in the photo.

Gone but not forgotten

The Masonic Temple inspired Johnson/Burgee's 1987 building a few blocks away at 190 South La Salle (photo by J. Crocker).

Temple Theater Star

Check out the star of the show.

everywhere signs

Does anyone know what the large signs (S.E. Gross Real Estate, Sullivan Osteopath, etc.) on the buildings are constructed of? They are impressively substantial, and I can’t imagine many businesses affording a cast metal such as bronze (which would probably be too heavy anyway), yet wood seems too ephemeral for the purpose. Maybe thin sheets of stamped steel? I‘m sure that there are examples of these surviving to this day, but I don’t recall ever seeing any at salvage warehouses, antique stores, or flea markets.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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